It was such a nice idea – 5 day’s Trek on Himalaya mountains. So once we set our mind about the length of the trek and our budget we run into the ‘first best’ travel agency in Gangtok.

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The agency had a promising name ‘Souvenir’ with an even more promising subtitle ‘Travel and adventure’. That title said all we were looking for. A very handsome young Nepali-Sikkemese welcomed us and immediately we started to chit chat about our 5 day’s possibilities. After we showed deep interest in his Dzongri-la trek offer we informed him about our budget constrain. We were surprised he really had a proposal to match our budget. 99.9% of all agencies offer only VIP package with guides, cooks and porters for minimum 35 USD per head/day. This was beyond our affordable daily rate. Mr. Karan offered us 20 USD per head/day when we are willing to cut down on our comfort and luxury. No problem, anyway were is the fun in trekking if you get pampered everywhere. Our ‘saving list’ sounded as below.

-We will arrange our own transport to and from the starting point of the trek.
-One porter cum guide will bring us up and down the mountain.
-No porter or yack support. Girls, carry your own stuff!
-No extra equipment will be provided by the agency. We have to take care of sleeping bags etc.
-The agency will arrange food for us 3 times a day but it will be simple and the same as our guides, what ever ‘simple’ means.
-Sleeping arrangement is in the package and we will stay in the huts.

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For us it sounded like fun and at least different as all the softies walking up the mountain for lots of money. We were ready to sign the contract. But no contract appeared only a handwritten receipt over 9000 Rs paid in advance. Well somehow a little uncomfortable we felt but who cares. Wiping away our concerns we head off through Gangtok roads to stock up our equipment in the most clever way.

Alex

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